NK 5720 C5 1918X NPG 44/ %JQ CAMEO PORTRAITURE IN AMERICA CAMEO PORTRAIT OF JANE CATHERINE LOUISE VALUE CHAPIN Cut by Annable about 1850. CAMEO PORTRAITURE ) IN AMERICA < BY HOWARD M. CHAPIN ILLUSTRATED r V«Q \\hsonian l n St '?r, (Aj V 4&A PROVIDENCE: PRINTED BY THE PLIMPTON PRESS FOR PRESTON & ROUNDS CO. MCMXVIII *2**/ Mustf lUad April 10, 1918 ^VVSONIAM INSTlfo c AUG 31 1943 8792 « MfCTIOIIOFflSL! 736. & TAM deeply indebted to Mr. Lawrence Park, Mrs. Joseph T. A. Eddy, and the Museum of Fine Arts, at Boston, for their assistance and cooperation; to Pro- fessor William C. Poland, Mr. Charles Henry Hart, Mr. Charles K. Bolton, Mr. Howard W. Preston, and Mr. L. Earle Rowe for their suggestions and in- terest; and to the printed works of Isabel Moore, Francis Hobart Herrick, and C. Hart Merriam. ILLUSTRATIONS J. C. L. V. Chapin J. B. Chapin J. S. Lincoln Four Hunt Bros H. Greeley . Audubon . Audubon . John Hutton Ephraim Abbot . G. Morey By Annable Frontispiece " Annable . 15 " Annable . 19 " Hunt . . 21 " King . . 25 " King . . 29 M King . . 33 " St.-Gaudens 35 " Foley . . 37 " Unknown . 41 CAMEO PORTRAITURE IN AMERICA A CAMEO is an engraving cut in relief upon stone, shell, glass, or other hard substance having two or more layers of color, and so treated as to utilize the effect of the variety of coloring. Although this is the common usage of the word "cameo/ 5 it is given as its second meaning in most dictionaries, which give for its first meaning an engraving in [ii] CAMEO PORTRAITURE relief as distinguished from an intaglio. The derivation of the word "cameo" has not been traced. Cameos are usually cut in agates, sardonyx being the best adapted to the purpose, or in certain tropical shells hav- ing two layers of color. These shells are found at the Isle of Bourbon, near Madagascar, at Ceylon, and at some of the West Indies. On account of the fact that those shells from Ceylon were shipped to Europe via Calcutta, the shells used for cameos are often called " Calcutta shells."  IN AMERICA Among the substances less commonly utilized for making cameos are certain birds' eggs, glass, glass paste, lava, coral, and various hard minerals. The art of cutting gems and semi-precious stones in low relief goes back many centuries before Christ. The earliest cameo now known is the stone in the ring of Polycrates, which was carved by Theodorus of Samos in the sixth century be- fore Christ. The art of cameo-cutting was practiced extensively by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Ro- mans, but fell into disuse dur-  CAMEO PORTRAITURE ing the fourth century a.d., and although occasionally prac- ticed was not revived upon a large scale until the fifteenth century. Then it came into vogue in Italy and spread to France, where for a time it was extensively cultivated. At pres- ent very little cameo-cutting is done outside of Italy. My interest in portrait cameos was first aroused by a gift from my aunt of shell-cameo portraits of my grandfather and grand- mother. My historical point of view naturally led me to study the antiquity of cameo portraiture.  CAMEO PORTRAIT OF DR. J. B. CHAPIN Cut by Annable about 1850. CAMEO PORTRAITURE Cameos, you doubtless real- ize, are generally cut in alle- gorical or ornamental designs, but cameo portraiture has been occasionally practiced. The earliest extant cameo portrait is that of Ptolemy II and his first wife, Arsinoe. It dates from between 285 and 279 B.C., having been cut in a three-layer block of sardonyx six and a quarter inches long by five inches wide. This cameo, usually known as the "Gonzaga Cameo," is now pre- served at the Hermitage in Petrograd. A slightly smaller nine-layer  IN AMERICA sardonyx cameo portrait of Ptolemy II and his second wife, also named Arsinoe, is preserved in Vienna. Cameo portraits of Demet- rius Sotor and his wife Lao- dice, of Augustus, of Livia, and of Germanicus are extant, the latter being by the artist Epi- tynchamus. A later cameo por- trait is considered to bear the likeness of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina. Constantine's portrait was also cut in cameo, but after his time the art de- clined. Cameo portraiture w^as re- vived in the Renaissance.  CAMEO PORTRAITURE Likenesses of Francis I and his Queen, of Charles V, of Philip II, of Jerome Savonarola, and of King Rene were cut in cameo. A cameo portrait of Alexander de Medici was cut in plasma. The most noted cameo artist of the later Renaissance was a Frenchman, called "Coldore," who cut in cameos the portraits of Henry IV, Louis XIII, and Queen Elizabeth. Turning now to American cameo portraiture, I naturally began with those in my own possession and found that they were cut by a local sculptor, George O. Annable, of Provi-  CAMEO PORTRAIT OF JAMES S. LINCOLN Cut by Amiable. CAMEO PORTRAITURE dence. He had studied draw- ing under my grandmother, and later, having chosen sculpture as his field, cut her likeness in cameo as a mark of his appre- ciation of her instruction and assistance. He also cut a por- trait of my grandfather. The difference in the execution of the two cameos is striking; that of my grandmother shows the spirit of the artist at his best, executing an appreciation, while the other, though done gratuitously as a companion piece, clearly approaches in spirit the plane of a commercial commission.  ■ «3 S J n £ ts CAMEO PORTRAITURE George 0. Annable, the son of Jeremiah and Mary B. Anna- ble, was born about 1829. He had a studio in the Hoppin building in Providence, and in 1850 cut a cameo portrait of Dr. Nathan B. Crocker, the rector of St. John's Church. The following account from the Providence Journal of Janu- ary 18, 1851, gives us an idea of Annable's work and ambi- tion. "Annable is dreaming of Italy and languishing for the commissions which would put him in possession of the means to go there to study. Mean-  IN AMERICA while he is not idle, but is giv- ing renewed demonstration of his genius for art by some highly successful specimens of cameo-cutting. The last and best we have seen is a spirited copy of the truly clerical head of the Rector of St. John's — a most excellent likeness. The sharpness of outline, and smoothness and delicacy of fin- ish, of this little work, are really admirable." At the exhibition held in 1851 by the Rhode Is- land Society for the Encour- agement of Domestic Industry George O. Annable received the highest prize, $10, for "medal-  CAMEO PORTRAITURE lions and cameos, likenesses, very truthful, and also exhibit- ing a very commendable prog- ress in the art." In the printed report of that Society we find the following reference to this artist: "With respect to the medal- lion heads and cameos by Mr. George O. Annable, of Provi- dence, the committee heartily concur in the general expres- sion of opinion. They are ex- cellent;- and considering the youth of the artist and the short time which has passed since his first work was pro- duced — remarkably so."  CAMEO PORTRAIT OF HORACE GREELEY Cut by John C. King. CAMEO PORTRAITURE In 1853 cameos were ex- hibited by Annable and were described as "capital like- nesses and finely executed." He received a silver medal, the highest premium, for por- trait busts in marble and cameos. Beside the portraits of Dr. Chapin, Mrs. Chapin, and Dr. Crocker, Annable cut a cameo likeness of James S. Lincoln, the portrait painter, who in exchange painted Annable's portrait. This cameo portrait of Lincoln is in the possession of Mrs. Joseph T. A. Eddy of Hingham. Annable's cameo  IN AMERICA portraits were cut in shell and were usually about an inch and a half tall. Annable married Miss Jane M. Tripp in Providence on June 2, 1863, and died in Brooklyn, N. Y., April 22, 1887. He was buried in the North Burial Ground in Providence on the 26th. Extending my study from Providence to Boston, I found seven cameo portraits in the Museum of Fine Arts. Four of these were cut by William Morris Hunt and are mounted in a bracelet. They are like- nesses of the four Hunt brothers,  CAMEO PORTRAITURE Richard, Jonathan, Leavitt, and William Morris. William Morris Hunt, the son of the Hon. Jonathan Hunt, was born at Brattleboro, Ver- mont, in 1824. He studied at Harvard, at Dusseldorf, and later under Couture, at Paris, where he became the friend of Millet. He returned to Amer- ica in 1855 and resided for a while at Newport, after which he settled in Boston. In 1875 he published his " Talks on Art," and died in 1879. Al- though not exactly a Rhode Islander, he resided for a time at Newport, and two daughters  CAMEO PORTRAIT OP JOHN J. AUDUBON Cut by King about 18 %k* From the Farwell Photograph CAMEO PORTRAITURE married into a prominent Rhode Island family, one becoming the wife of Samuel Slater, while her sister became the wife of Samuel Slater's father, Horatio Nelson Slater, Jr. The Museum of Fine Arts also possesses two cameo por- traits by John C. King. One is of Horace Greeley and the other of Benjamin Franklin. About 1844 King cut a cameo portrait of the naturalist Audu- bon. The following account of this cameo appears in an ar- ticle by C. Hart Merriam in the Auk for October, 1908: "My father and Mr. King were  IN AMERICA great friends, and on one occa- sion, when father dropped into Mr. King's studio, he found Mr. Audubon sitting for the cameo. Mr. King introduced the two gentlemen and asked them to start a conversation, which was continued during the sitting. The two men became so animated in their interest- ing conversation that they for- got where they were, and thus the artist was enabled to catch the natural and striking expres- sion of the great ornithologist. " A photograph of a cast made from this cameo was presented by King to Mr. O. Atkins Far-  CAMEO PORTRAITURE well of Detroit in 1871, and a cast of another cameo of Audu- bon, made by King between 1840 and 1845, was given by the sculptor to Mr. Frederic H. Kennard of Boston. The original cameos which were cut in shell were not located by Mr. Merriam. A medallion from the Farwell photograph is reproduced on the cover of Francis Hobart Herrick's "Au- dubon the Naturalist." John Crookshanks King was born at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland, October 11, 1806. He attended school until about fifteen years old and then be-  CAMEO PORTRAIT OF JOHN J. AUDUBON Cut by King. From the Kennard cast CAMEO PORTRAITURE came a machinist's apprentice, although devoting his spare hours to drawing and painting. He came to America in 1829, and in 1832 met Hiram Powers, through whose influence he took up sculpture. In 1840 he set- tled in New Orleans, where he made marble busts and cut portrait cameos. He soon moved to Boston, where he had a studio and continued his work until his death, in April 1882, and was buried at Mount Auburn. He was unusually fond of animals, especially birds. The other cameo portrait in the Museum of Fine Arts is of  CAMEO PORTRAIT OF JOHN HUTTON Cut by Saint-Gaudens. CAMEO PORTRAITURE the Hon. George Morey. It is considered to be American work, but its sculptor is un- known. The public collections of New York and Philadelphia proved barren to my search. But in Maitland Armstrong's recollections of Saint-Gaudens I found the following account of his cameo work: "Saint-Gaudens often told me of the trials he had suffered as apprentice to a cameo-cutter, a Frenchman, who spent his holidays and Sundays in shoot- ing snipe on the Weehawken Flats. The young craftsman  CAMEO PORTRAIT OF REV. EPHRAIM ABBOT, 1779-1870 Cut by Margaret Foley. CAMEO PORTRAITURE was compelled to walk all day, lugging his master's game bag and running after the snipe he shot. Never would he admit, even in confidence, that the bag was a heavy one, so loath was he to give 'that fellow' credit for anything; but there is not much hazard in the guess that snipe were then in a more flourishing condition on the 'Flats' than is the case to-day, and that the sport was pretty good for the master. " Cameo-cutting was soon abandoned, but not before Saint-Gaudens had become very skillful at the trade."  IN AMERICA Still more pertinent to our quest is the account in Isa- bel Moore's "Talks in a Li- brary with Laurence Hutton," wherein Hutton said: ''That eight dollars — the first money I ever made for myself — was invested in a sentimental way, in the gold setting, as a finger ring, of a small, shell-cameo profile protrait of the father, cut by a boy of about my own age, with whom then I had but slight acquaintance, but who, in later years, has become my very good friend. His name is Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Very many years later a shell-  CAMEO PORTRAITURE cameo brooch, in what is called a shadow-frame, had its place in the Thirty-fourth Street house, upon the piano in the dining-room; and one night at a dinner party, at which were gathered many distinguished men and women to meet Sir Henry Irving, the box and its contents attracted the atten- tion of a guest who happened to sit opposite to it. In the middle of the symposium he jumped up, grasped the object in both hands, and said: 'Lau- rence, where did you get this, and who is it?' ''It's my father, given by  CAMEO PORTRAIT OF HON. GEORGE MOREY Artist unknown, but said to have been an American CAMEO PORTRAITURE him to my mother on the twenty-fifth anniversary of their marriage. She wore it a little while, but it was too con- spicuous as a personal orna- ment; and after his death she put it in that frame/ "The excited guest exclaimed: "'Your father?' "'Yes, my father.' "He then asked in great excitement who did it. "I replied: 'I don't know. It was cut long ago by a little artist in a studio over Broug- ham's Lyceum, afterwards Wal- lack's Theatre, on the corner of Broadway and Broome  IN AMERICA Street. Who he was or what his name was, I do not know, except that he was a clever little Frenchman/ "The attention of the whole party was by this time at- tracted to the dialogue. Look- ing at the cameo in its case, and his hand shaking a little, the guest said: "'He was a clever little Frenchman, was he, and you don't know his name? Well, I'm the clever little French- man, and my name is Saint- Gaudens. It's the earliest piece of my work extant, and when you and Mrs. Hutton get  CAMEO PORTRAITURE through with it, I want it for Gussie and the boy/ "And when we do get through with it they are to have it." At the suggestion of Mr. Bolton, I wrote to Mr. Law- rence Park of Boston, in the hope that he might know of some portrait-cameos, and he surpassed our expectations in being himself the possessor of a portrait-cameo by Margaret Foley. This cameo is the like- ness of Rev. Ephraim Abbott, a great-uncle of Mr. Park. Biographers differ as to where Margaret Foley, or Margaret E. Foley, as she is sometimes [44 ] IN AMERICA called, was born. Some give her birthplace as Vermont, while others place it in New Hampshire. She was appar- ently largely self-instructed in her artistic work. Mrs. Clements says of her: "At length she made some rep- utation in Boston, where she cut portrait and ideal heads in cameo. She then went to Rome." Some of her works were exhibited at the Centen- nial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876. Tuckerman wrote of her that she "achieves new and constant success in her relie- vos." Her medallions of Wil- li 45] CAMEO PORTRAITURE liam and Mary Howitt, of Longfellow, and of William Cullen Bryant, and her ideal statues of Cleopatra, of Excel- sior, and of Jeremiah are consid- ered to be the best specimens of her cameo work. She died in 1877 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Howitt, at Menan in the Austrian Tyrol.